Language Diversity - Language Diversity - Map of Minorities & Regional and Minority Languages of Europe for and about linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe.

Language Diversity Map

General Information

Europe is a continent of linguistic and cultural diversity, a continent of regions and of variety. We are more than 820 million people and every seventh of us belongs to a minority.

There are more than 400 minorities, ethnic groups and nationalities in Europe. We speak more than 125 languages.

The efforts to preserve and promote lesser-used European languages and cultures –irretrievable European heritage – are made within the context of European objectives.
The critical threshold for the survival of a language is estimated at 300,000 speakers. That means that approximately 80% of the European regional or minority languages are endangered. It is therefore necessary to protect and support the European minorities.

The visibility of the minorities and of linguistic and cultural diversity is limited. There is a lack of attractive resources presenting the complex issue of the European minorities in one simple overview that would make it possible to convey the facts to users who are not specialists – including with additional information and a user-friendly and web-based presentation. This was the reason that the Map of Minorities and Regional and Minority Languages in Europe has been developed.

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The map gives an overview of the autochthonous, national minorities / ethnic groups and the regional and minority languages of Europe.

The map presents the linguistic and cultural diversity of our continent. It takes you to every European country and shows you the minorities who live there and their languages.

Did you know, that there are traditional minorities, ethnic groups, small peoples and/or regional and minority languages in almost all the countries of Europe? They contribute to the irretrievable European heritage in the regions of Europe.

We look forward to receive your feedback, questions and contributions. The information shown on this map was collected and prepared to the best of our knowledge and judgment.

All rights reserved. No part of this map may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher.

What is the meaning of the colours?

Every language family has been given a separate colour. This was done to allow you to recognise the diversity of languages and the different language branches, also visually. It allows you to discover the connections between languages of similar ancestry and with the colours you can also see their dissemination in Europe.

What is the meaning of the pentagon-symbol?

The pentagon, placed in the middle of a county, symbolised those minorities and ethnic groups for whom we were not able to define a specific area of settlement.

Sources of information

The information about minorities and languages on this map is based on several sources. The most important sources are the monitoring reports for the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and for the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe, the Euromosaic-studies of the European Commission, the Ethnologue-language database, the Handbook “National Minorities in Europe” (Christoph Pan, Beate Sibylle Pfeil, 2003), information from population censuses of several European states and information directly obtained from the minorities that are members of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN). The number of people in Europe is based on information from the Council of Europe. The classification into language families is based on the system used by Ethnologue.